Every young Freo fan has been there, dreaming of one day pulling on the purple jumper.
When a 10-year-old Luke Strnadica was on holiday with his family on the Gold Coast, they came across a stand that made imitation newspaper front pages, and they couldn’t resist.
Fremantle Dockers draft “rookie” Strnadica read the headline, and eight years later with pick 21 in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft, that headline became a surreal reality.
“The poster’s been there for a while now and it actually worked out,” Strnadica said.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling (to be drafted). I was really nervous leading up to it, but I can’t wait to start with the Dockers.
“It’s definitely special, I barracked for Freo as a kid so I’m stoked. I can’t wait to get started.”
Even the photo, which depicts a ruck contest, seems spot on for the 202cm versatile forward.
“I can play as a tall marking forward, but with my height I can play in the ruck as well,” Strnadica said.
“It works in my favour a bit there.”
Averaging almost three goals a game for East Fremantle colts in 2015, Strnadica started slowly in 2016, but hit his stride later in the season.
In his second year representing WA at the U18 National Championships, Strnadica kicked four goals against Vic Country and three against South Australia.
“The start of the year didn’t go as well as I would have liked,” Strnadica said.
“But I thought I stepped up in the second half of the year and I think I played some good games in the State 18s as well.”
Strnadica will join the club almost straight away, but he won’t be an entirely new face after training with the group in 2015.
“I worked with Aaron (Sandilands) a fair bit as a part of the NAB AFL Academy,” Strnadica said.
“I trained with them for a couple weeks, and I can’t wait to get started again. It was good to see how hard the guys work, and just how just how nice the boys are too, they were really welcoming.”